Maurice Ravel -The Swiss Watchmaker

Maurice Ravel was born on March 7, 1875, in the small fishing village of Ciboure in the Basque region, near the Franco-Spanish border.  His father, Pierre-Joseph, was a Frenchman of Swiss descent. Pierre-Joseph, a distinguished engineer, met and fell in love with his future wife, a young and beautiful Basque, Marie Delouart, at the time she worked on the Spanish railways.  A few months after Maurice's birth, the family moved from Ciboure to Paris. The parents of Maurice Ravel, Pierre-Joseph Ravel and Marie Delouart. Maurice had a happy childhood. The parents encouraged their two children - Edouard was born in 1878 - to follow their vocation. Maurice's inclination was music. He started music lessons at the age of seven.  Unlike the parents of other composers, Pierre-Joseph viewed positively the prospect of a musical career and sent Maurice to the France's most important musical college, the Conservatoire de Paris in 1889. In the same year, the Paris Exhibition brought toget

Carl Maria von Weber - Clarinet Concerto No.2 in E-flat major, Op.74

The graceful and lyrical music, which brings to mind the clean atmosphere and the serenity of the countryside, characterizes many orchestral works composed by Carl Maria von Weber during his short life.


Just as Mozart and Brahms composed works for clarinet for a specific performer, so Carl Maria von Weber, again, was inspired by the performance of Heinrich Joseph Baermann, the first clarinetist of the Munich Court orchestra.

In 1811, the King of Bavaria, Maximilian the First, ordered Weber to compose two concertos for Baermann, which he would perform in Munich. After the premiere of this concerto, Weber wrote in his diary about "the tumultuous applause caused by Baermann's divine performance."

This concerto follows the usual classical form, although in this interpretation there are no cadences - extensive sections only for solo instruments.


Ι. Allegro

The inaugural Allegro begins in a heroic style with the participation of the entire orchestra. The second theme, presented by the violins, is a sweeter melody. It is worthy of attention the original phrase of the solo clarinet, which includes the first of many difficult passages along the spectrum of the instrument.

The solo clarinet is joined with the orchestra in a general rework of the introductory theme, before leading to the main section. A rapid ascending scale for the soloist, performed in staccato (each note isolated), leads the melody to its recapitulation as well as a powerful finale.

ΙΙ. Romanza: Andante 

In the melancholic Andante the soloist appears after two meters of pitsikato cellos. Strings and woodwinds alternate, illuminating the music. Then follows a "Recitativo ad lib.", where the solo clarinet and the orchestra adopt the free style of a vocal recitativo accompanied by chords - reminiscent of Weber's operas.

ΙΙΙ. Alla Polacca

The concluding Alla Polacca, a Polonaise, is brilliant and exuberant. A more serene episode ensues, but the pace soon speeds up again with many exciting solo sections. Three long trembling notes, followed by more passages from high tonalities to low and vice versa, complete the concerto.